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St. Peter Newsletter March 18, 2020

Third Sunday of Great Lent
Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Although many of us will not be able to attend the Liturgy this Sunday, we will keep up with information about the importance of each Sunday nonetheless.

We will live stream the Divine Liturgy on the St. Peter Facebook page beginning at 9:30am.

PLEASE NOTE: Although most of us cannot attend Church, our bills still need to be paid. We are on a sound financial footing, but this will continue only if we maintain our giving to the Church. Please mail your contributions to the church or, if you prefer, donate online by clicking the donate button on the St. Peter’s website.

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Hieromartyr Basil of Ancyra; Martyr Kallinika of Rome; and Venerable-martyr Euthymios of Prodromou Skete on Athos

Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Each of the Sundays of Great Lent has its own special theme. This Sunday’s theme is that in the cross of Christ crucified lies both “the power of God and the wisdom of God” for those being saved (1 Cor 1:24). On this Sunday in the middle of the Lenten season, the cross stands in the middle of the church, not merely to remind the faithful of Christ’s redemption and for them to keep the goal of their Lenten efforts, but also as a reminder: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38).

Historical theme

The historical theme, as seen in the hymnology, is the victory and joy of the cross, not the suffering. The Church fathers equate the life-giving cross with the tree of life and plant it in the middle of the Lenten pilgrimage. It was the tree that was planted in Paradise; it is to remind the faithful of both Adam’s bliss and how he was deprived from it.

Personal theme

For the catechumens of the early church, and the faithful preparing for Pascha today, the spiritual theme starts to change from personal faith, and personal effort, to Christ. The Church teaches that it is Christ’s cross that saves. One cannot take up his own cross and follow Christ unless one has Christ’s cross which he took up to save mankind. Partaking of this tree, one will no longer die, but will be kept alive.

This is done to refresh, reassure and to encourage those participating in Great Lent. The Church equates the appearance of the cross at this time to the banners and symbols that precede the return of a victorious king. The Epistle reading is from Hebrews 4:14-5:6 and explains Christ’s priesthood, and the Gospel lesson from Mark 8:34-9:1 ends with And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

From Orthodoxwiki website.


Fr. Thomas Hopko on “Taking Up Your Cross”

Fr. Thomas Hopko

On the third Sunday of Great Lent, we concentrate on the Cross of Christ, and Fr. Tom helps us understand what it means to take up our cross.

Listen here:

Click to listen to the podcast

Met. Joseph Issues Directives on Worship and Church Activities

Met. Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph has issued a directive for Worship and non-liturgical activities during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the entire directive on the St. Peter website. The main points are listed below.

  1. No non-liturgical parish activities will be held. This means that we will cancel Social Hall, Community Luncheons, Sunday School, Greek School (already cancelled), Bible Studies or any other kind of social activity until further notice.
  2. Sunday and Orthodox Liturgies will continue but only with the Priest, Deacon, Altar Servers, and Chanter(s). No more than 10 parishioners can attend. We will see if can set up a live stream for parishioners who remain at home.
  3. Presanctified Liturgies are cancelled.
  4. Friday Akathists will continue.
  5. The Divine Liturgy of Annunciation on March 25 will held.

These measures are to conform to the instructions of the public health officials that we maintain social distancing in order to limit the spread of the virus.

You are encouraged to continue your services at home. These are called “Readers Services,” the same service held in a Church if a priest cannot be present. You can find the services on the Archdiocese website (here). This is important. Don’t ignore the prayer. It will keep you strong.

Read the entire message sent out to parishioners on Tuesday, March 18, 2020 on the St. Peter’s website.


Schedule for Lenten Suppers Following Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesday

Presanctified Liturgies, and therefore the Lenten Suppers, are cancelled until further notice.


Annunciation Liturgy on Monday, March 25 at 6:30pm

The Annunciation of the Theotokos

The Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation will be held. Vespers on the night before has been cancelled. We are working on live streaming the Liturgy for those who cannot attend.

The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on March 25 each year. The Feast commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb.

Fr. Thomas Hopko on The Annunciation

Fr. Thomas Hopko

On March 25, exactly 9 months before Nativity, the Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Theotokos that she will be the Mother of God. God’s declaration through the angel Gabriel, however, had a contingency attached.

Listen to find out what it was.


Our Stewardship to St. Peter’s



Click to view the letter


The letter for Stewardship Support of St. Peter’s in 2020 has been sent.

PLEASE NOTE: Although most of us cannot attend Church, our bills still need to be paid. We are on a sound financial footing, but this will continue only if we maintain our giving to the Church. Please mail your contributions to the church or, if you prefer, donate online by clicking the donate button on the St. Peter’s website.

We are responsible to increase what God has given us. In the Parable of the Talents, the master gave his servants talents that they are expected to nurture and grow. This is a responsibility we cannot avoid.

The Church is both a place where the increase begins on the inside of us, and to which we much give some our increase. This too is a responsibility we must take on.

A contribution form will be included in the letter you receive. Our goal this year is $217,000.


Pledge & Income Report – January 2020

Giving in January was $26,846.00. Our monthly goal to make our 2020 budget is $18,167.00. This leaves a surplus of $8,679.00. While this is good, we have to remember that we always have a good January because some people fulfill their yearly stewardship early.

We have received $140,000.00 in pledges towards our budget goal of $217,000. It’s not too late to sign a pledge card. Pledge cards are available in the Narthex or on St. Peter’s website.

Thank you to all of you who support Saint Peter’s.


Calendar At A Glance


Greek School classes cancelled.

March Lenten Service Schedule

Sunday March 15 Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas

  • Mon Mar 16Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Wed Mar 18Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Fri Mar 20 — Third Stanza Salutations 6:30pm

Sunday March 22 Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross

  • Mon Mar 23Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Tue Mar 24Annunciation Vespers 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Wed Mar 25 — Annunciation Liturgy 6:30pm
  • Fri Mar 27 — Fourth Stanza Salutations 6:30pm

Sunday March 29 Sunday of St. John of the Ladder

  • Mon Mar 30Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Wed Apr 1Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Fri Apr 3 — Complete Salutations/Akathist Hymn 6:30pm

Undetermined. Since this is the last week before Holy Week, we will wait for clarification on what to do for this final week and Holy Week.

Sunday April 5 Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

  • Mon Apr 6 — Great Compline 6:30pm
  • Wed Apr 8 — Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
  • Fri Apr 10 — Small Compline with Canon of St. Lazarus 6:30pm
  • Sat Apr 11 — Lazarus Saturday Liturgy 9:30am / Baptisms / Make crosses / Pancake breakfast / Children confessions – Full Schedule TBA

See the entire Lenten Schedule on the St. Peter website.


Wisdom From The Elders

‘My most dear brother! Make an effort to gain the heavenly kingdom and fear to lose it. Did you see God’s mercy to you? See to it then that you be not ungrateful toward your Savior, Who has revealed to you that which is invisible. Attempt to gain His love, and make ready to drink the cup which will be sent to you in accordance with our Lord’s will— then God’s grace and the protection of our heavenly Queen will always be with you; and I, too, will not leave you.’ Great Martyr George

A person who is accustomed to humiliation attracts the grace of God. Elder Porphyrios

Strive to clothe your soul in the imperishable beauty of meekness, humility, chastity and purity, mercy and righteousness. Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt

At every moment we need to have wakefulness, recollected thoughts, and a careful watch on the intellect. Martyrius

We unite ourselves to Him, in so far as this is possible, by participating in the godlike virtues and by entering into communion with Him through prayer and praise. St. Gregory Palamas

As it is impossible to verbally describe the sweetness of honey to one who has never tasted honey, so the goodness of God cannot be clearly communicated by way of teaching if we ourselves are not able to penetrate into the goodness of the Lord by our own experience. St. Basil the Great

Remember in Your Prayers

Iakavos (Diveris)
Heriklia (Diveris)
Macy James
Joan (Breitenbach)
Mary (Rauch)
Diomidis (Kanellos)

Anastasia (Ann Constan)
Ben (Ben)
Thomas (Ben)
Irene (C. Diveris)
Vasiliki (C.Diveris)
Efrosini (C. diveris)
Charles (Oberg)
Christine (Kouzes)
Nina (Kovalev)
Hugh (Jacquie)
Violet (Jacquie Mom)
Tammie (Jacquie friend)
Baby Luke
Savannah (Jonson)
Bill R.
Pat R.
Priest Kyprianos
Maryanne (E)
Ron (E)
Robert (J)
Mary (J)
Sofia Tešanovic
Dennis H. and Family
Victor Evan
Dimitri – Presbyter
Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
James Hord

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names (first names are sufficient) and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Add or remove names and print this list for easy reference during your prayer time on the St. Peter website.


Sunday Readings

Search the Scriptures


For the Third Sunday of Great Lent

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
To Thee, O Lord, have I cried, O my God.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (4:14-5:6)

Brethren, since we have a High Priest, Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Sonof God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathizewith our weaknesses, but One Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt Himself tobe made a high priest, but was appointed by Him Who said to Him, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee”; as He says also in another place, “Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”



For the Third Sunday of Great Lent

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (8:34-9:1)

The Lord said, “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up hiscross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life forMy sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world andforfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Meand My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed,when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And Jesus said to them, “Truly,I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom ofGod come with power.”

St. Peter Orthodox Church